The article on Lakers assistant coach Brian Keefe is one of the best pieces I’ve come across in the last several months. Keefe is the assistant coach assigned to work with highly touted rookie Brandon Ingram (No. 2 pick in this past year’s NBA Draft) after working extensively with Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City. Interesting to hear how much Keefe focuses on habits (McKillop: “Habits are the highest form of intelligence”). This article has tremendous insight into the “Vitamin” model many NBA teams have adopted (I believe San Antonio was the organization in which the idea originated). Referring to their “Vitamins” program, Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Mark Daigneault said one of the most profound coaching points to me when I asked about his first year in the pro game, “If you neglect the developmental side and just focus on the technical, your players will never be good enough. You’ll be tough to play against and you’ll execute, etc. But your players will never be good enough to win the league.” I appreciate Bob Walsh for passing this along.
The fruits of the extra labor became obvious to everyone. As they did, that extra work just became part of the organization’s culture. Success became a strong motivator. Westbrook, whose face brightened at the mention of Keefe’s name, still goes in early to shoot, just as he used to under his schedule as a young player. “That’s a part of what we stand for here,” Westbrook said. “That’s a part of Oklahoma City. To be able to come in and compete at a high level, you gotta work for everything.”